Two Utah men, alleged leaders of a doomsday cult, are accused of marrying each other’s young daughters. A newly unsealed search warrant has revealed the alleged child bride exchange, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
Back in December, a pair of young sisters were rescued by police after their father John Coltharp allegedly gave them to a religious sect leader, 34-year-old Samuel Warren Shaffer, for marriage. Shaffer allegedly told police he was married to Coltharp’s 8-year-old daughter, according to a search warrant affidavit obtained by Salt Lake Tribune. In exchange for that marriage, Coltharp, 33, allegedly married Shaffer’s 7-year-old daughter, according to that search warrant affidavit.
Both Shaffer and Coltharp are alleged leaders of the Knights of the Crystal Blade. That group is considered a cult, a fundamentalist offshoot of the Mormon church. Shaffer allegedly told police he used to be the group’s prophet. Now, Coltharp reportedly is the prophet of the religious offshoot.
KUTV reports that Coltharp is facing sodomy of a child charges for an incident back in August. His two daughters, Hatti, 4, and Dhina, 8, were rescued in a building’s storage receptacle in December, CBS4 reports, when they were in Shaffer’s “care.” They were reportedly in the freezing building all by themselves. The Iron County Sheriff’s Department said that if they weren’t rescued, the two girls may not have survived the night.
“These two children were not properly dressed for the cold temperatures and did not have food or water at that time,” a police press release states. “Shaffer also made statements he had left a firearm behind on the ground next to the barrel.”
Coltharp had allegedly said in the past that “girls are meant to get married at the age of 12 — their bodies are ready.”